Do you love words? Do you enjoy reading even when the story doesn’t have a plot? Then you should meet a kindred spirit — Barbara Ann Kipfer, a self-confessed word-nerd. She has spent the past three decades reading dictionaries as a hobby as well as in her capacity as a professional lexicographer; Kipfer explains: “I have read dictionaries, etymology books, tomes on usage and grammar, books of unusual or old words, word trivia, and vocabulary books — for fun!.. It is a delightful hobby [to write down] what I find to be truly interesting definitions, fascinating origins or histories, details of usage, surprising trivia, useful synonyms, or unexpected connections between words.” The result of her endeavors is the endlessly delightful and fascinating book, Word Nerd. Here are some delicious morsels from Kipfer’s lexical smorgasbord. Bon appétit!
atrament: a synonym for ink
bariolage: a synonym for medley
coeval: a person of roughly the same age
dasypygal: having hairy buttocks
excubation: the act of watching all night
fremescence: the murmuring of a dissatisfied crowd
gargalesthesia: the feeling caused by tickling
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For further reading: Word Nerd: More Than 17,000 Fascinating Facts About Words by Barbara Ann Kipfer